Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2013 Contents A53
Monday, April 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BARCELONA---Rafael Nadal won the
Barcelona Open for the eighth time yesterday
after seeing off Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 in
Almagro played aggressively early on and
built a 3-0 lead, but Nadal found his form
and broke his fellow Spaniard in three of his
next four service games to take the initiative
for good. It was Nadal s 54th career title and
fourth this year, having made six straight finals
after returning from a knee injury that had
kept him off the courts since last summer.
The title came one week after Nadal s eight-
year reign at Monte Carlo ended in a loss to
top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
"I am very happy," Nadal said. "It has been
an important week for me to win here again
and a great source of joy after everything I
have been through."
Nadal has won 39 straight matches on the
red clay at Real Club de Tenis, with his last
loss coming 10 years ago to Spain s Davis Cup
captain, Alex Corretja. The 26-year-old Nadal
won the tournament from 2005-09 but missed
the 2010 edition because of a knee injury. He
has won every year since.
"I didn t know in 2005 that I would win
again or that in 2013 I would still be winning,"
His latest trophy is a promising sign that
he is getting back to full fitness after his nag-
ging case of tendinitis in time for the French
Open beginning at the end of May.
"With just these six tournament since I
have returned, I have managed to assure my
place in the top 10 one more year, which is
positive," said Nadal. "These months of work
have been worth it."
Even so, Nadal was hesitant to read too
much into his impressive return as far as what
it means for the upcoming Grand Slam at
Roland Garros, where he has won a record
"This win doesn t mean much (about the
future)," he said. "Just that I am in good form
since I have come back. The results are fan-
tastic, I would never have imagined them and
they are better than I had dreamed.
"I am back playing at a high level."
Nadal dominated the second set, but Alma-
gro enjoyed a good start and stole Nadal s first
service game with a forehand winner before
holding his serve to love.
Almagro continued to work Nadal around
the court with his deep backhand strokes and
broke Nadal yet again for a 3-0 lead following
a long rally when he swatted a running cross-
court return past the favorite.
Nadal then showed why he hasn t lost here
in a decade, rolling off four straight games to
"It was important for me to get the break
down 3-0," Nadal said.
Almagro was serving up 30-0 and com-
mitted a series of errors including a final double
fault to let Nadal level at three games apiece.
Nadal took control of the first set and the
match by breaking Almagro a third time. Down
0-30, Nadal saved a point by returning a
defensive lob with a shot from between his
legs, before Almagro ceded the game and set.
In the second, Nadal pressed home his
advantage and broke Almagro for 3-1.
Nadal serve out the match to love before
applauding the local fans who had cheered
both players on despite the drizzling rain.
Nadal has won all 10 meetings with the
12th-ranked Almagro. (AP)
STUTTGART---Maria Sharapova beat Li Na
6-4, 6-3 yesterday to defend her WTA
Porsche Grand Prix title in a final that
brought together the last two French Open
The top-seeded Russian swept to her second
title of the year after winning in Indian Wells,
and became the first player to defend Stuttgart
since Lindsey Davenport in 2005.
"I thought it d be the toughest match of
the tournament, but I played my best tennis
today," Sharapova said. "I was able to step it
Sharapova used the Stuttgart tournament
as her clay-court debut just like last season,
when she went on to capture the French Open.
The second-seeded Li double-faulted on
match point and had another one earlier in
the final game, as Sharapova collected the
29th title of her career---and a sports car to
go with it.
"I was under pressure on her return, she
was aggressive," Li said.
Sharapova, ranked No 2 in the world, had
to fight through three long three-setters to
get to the championship match, but there was
little drama in the final.
The Russian opened with a break and went
up 4-1 before Li could pull back one break.
But that was not enough and Sharapova closed
out the set with a service winner.
"I tried to put it together from the start,"
Li, who became the first Chinese player to
win a Grand Slam title with her victory at
Roland Garros in 2011, simply didn t have
enough consistency to threaten Sharapova,
and the Russian gained the key break in the
seventh game of the second when Li sent a
"I m a little sad to lose but it s a pretty good
start to my clay-court season," Li said.
Sharapova now holds a 9-5 career edge over
Li, who beat the Russian in the semifinals of
the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of
It was Sharapova s 16th consecutive win on
clay, dating back to Rome last year. Since
Stuttgart last year, she is 23-1 on clay. Her
only loss was to Serena Williams in Madrid.
Sharapova tames Li in Porsche GP final
Maria Sharapova of Russia clinches her fist during the final of the WTA tennis Porsche GP
against Na Li from China in Stuttgart, Germany, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Nicolas Almagro during the Barcelona final open
tennis in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday, Nadal won 6-4, 6-3. AP PHOTO
Nadal beats Almagro to
win 8th Barcelona Open
BUCHAREST---Lukas Rosol of the Czech
Republic beat Spain s Guillermo Garcia-
Lopez 6-3, 6-2 to win the BRD Nastase
Tiriac Trophy for his first ATP title yester-
Rosol completed an impressive run in
brushing aside Garcia-Lopez in 67 minutes,
converting four of his nine break points to
secure the victory in a final between two
The No 48-ranked Rosol overcame three
seeded players including three-time cham-
pion Giles Simon of France, the No.2-seeded
player, in the semifinals on his way to the
He saved all eight break points he faced
to end Simon s 16-match winning streak at
the clay-court event.
Garcia-Lopez struggled to keep up with
the 27-year-old Rosol a day after he defeated
2011 champion Florian Mayer in three sets
to earn a place in the final. (AP)
MARRAKECH---Francesca Schiavone of
Italy beat Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-1, 6-
3 yesterday in the Grand Prix SAR final for
the sixth title of her career and first since
The sixth-seeded Schiavone was dominant
in the first set, where she didn t face a break
point on her serve and broke the Spaniard
Dominguez Lino broke in the fourth game
of the second set to lead 3-1, but Schiavone
broke her straight back, and saved further
break points in the next game before breaking
her opponent once again to take control.
Schiavone, the 2010 French Open cham-
pion now ranked 48th, clinched her first title
since winning the Strasbourg Open last May.
She leads Dominguez Lino 4-1 in head-to-
head meetings. The 32-year-old veterans
first played each other 15 years ago on clay
at Spoleto in Italy, with the Spaniard winning
for the only time.
Dominguez Lino s last title was in February
2011 at Bogota, Colombia. (AP)
Schiavone makes it six in Grand Prix
Rosol crushes Garcia-Lopez at Bucharest
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